Soil Questions - Charcoal?
Been lurking for months, and I want to first say - I'm so glad I discovered gardenweb! I've been working as a cashier at a local garden center for almost two years now, When I was hired I knew very very little about gardening (okay, that's an understatement). I'm certainly not a pro yet, but with help from my coworkers and you guys I've learned quite a bit!
One of the most helpful things I have learned is the importance of a healthy soil. I've read nearly every post tapla has made - and boy I appreciate his info!
I live in a tiny apartment with no balcony, and only three west facing windows that are mostly blocked by large trees. I thought houseplants would be impossible, but to my surprise I've been able to keep quite a few plants alive! (maybe not thriving - but alive nonetheless! :)
Anyways, I've had a few people ask about the benefits (if any) of using charcoal in a soil for houseplants. I know it's often an ingredient in commercially sold bonsai and orchid soil mixes - could other houseplants benefit from it?
And what exactly would be the differences between charcoal and activated charcoal?
Also, I've had trouble getting some ingredients, so this is what I did in a pinch- and it seems pretty good. what do you think? Is there anything I should switch up next time?
1/3 Hoffman's bonsai soil (turface, pine bark, haydite)
1/3 Orchid mix (thrown in a processor to break the bark to 1/4" pieces and smaller)
and a small handful or vermiculite- I really don't know why I added that though.
I have 3 draceanas, a jade, 2 philodendron, pothos and sansevierias planted in this mix and they seem to like it, or atleast tolerate it. I've had one draceana
My biggest problem was the salt buildup, which has drastically decreased since I repotted them from nursery soil into this mix 4 months ago. I still use mostly tap water - I don't have a vehicle and carrying jugs of purified water on the bus and then carrying 1/2 mile home every week is just not happening! :)
Aaaaanyways- I apologize for the long intro! I'll try my best to keep the rambling to a minimum next time! :)
TL;DR - How beneficial would it really be to add charcoal to your regular houseplant mix?
And has anyone ever heard of or used Sumi Balls? I'm pretty interested in them. I'll attach a link for those.
Here is a link that might be useful: Sumi Balls